Leo's mom contacted me about Epic Cake Smash sessions with a request for a jungle/safari theme and I jumped at the chance! I created the theme and set custom for Leo and loved it so much, I added it to my available themes.
It took me a while to develop my vision for this set. I spent hours looking online and was a little overwhelmed by the possibilities. Once I decided to turn my holiday tree props from the mini sessions into palm trees, the rest started to fall into place. The vines I created from kraft paper, raffia, and hand cut paper leaves. The 1 was purchased plain and I added animal print felt. Leo's amazing hand made costume was purchased from Natalia's Treasures on etsy and the cake, of course, was created by my loyal cake designer, Melanie of Peace, Love & Cake. The monkey was a last minute addition and made from foam sheets. I had to give Leo some company so the stuffed animals were a must. The giraffe was actually one of the hardest elements for me to find. I wanted a large standing giraffe, but spending $70 just wasn't in the budget. When I found this guy, I felt like I was settling, but once he was added to the set, I realized he was perfect.
When Leo and his parents arrived, we took a few minutes to get a shot of him in a cute outfit on a second backdrop before diving into the cake smash. I didn't get a chance to do an in person consultation with them, so I worried that Leo would be shy with me, but he smiled right away! He was just learning to stand on his own, and was excited to show off what he could do.
We changed him into his lion costume and let him take a look at the set. He was very interested in the trees and animals...not so much the cake. Once he had explored a little, Mom and Dad gave him a taste of frosting. Needless to say, he found it to be yummy.
Of all the cake smashes I have done, Leo was by far the most excited about the cake. Most of the time kids either don't want to eat it or don't like having their hands dirty. All it took was one taste and Leo was both hands in! He didn't care a bit about getting messy and it was great!
This is what a cake smash is supposed to be about! Smashing! Leo is the first kid I've photographed that smashed his cake all on his own and did it was a huge smile. Not a single tear or complaint! I think I was more excited than he was.
There was a brief moment when he tried to escape, but he was pretty easily convinced to sit and have more cake. In his attempt to crawl away, I grabbed one of my favorite shots. It isn't the most technically great of the bunch, but just look at that face!
At the end of the session, there was frosting everywhere! It was ground into the set's jungle floor, mushed into the costume, smeared all over Leo's face and hands and feet and legs! Even I had frosting on my pants. Later I found some on one of the trees, the giraffe and the studio floor. It was a glorious mess and I loved every second of it! Leo's mom tried to apologize but I would have none of it. With every Epic Cake Smash session, I try to go above and beyond to make the session amazing, but Leo made this one truly epic.
Cassandra Zingaro - photographer, mom, wife, owner of HeartStrings Photography and first time blogger